A long playoff run ends
It is official. As of about 8:15 a.m. local time Sunday the Montana Grizzlies’ 17-year FCS playoff run is over. The FCS playoff pairings are below.
The Griz fell to Montana State 21-16 in an excellent Brawl of the Wild Saturday, and that helped doom their playoff hopes. Montana finished 7-4 — as did at-large playoff teams Georgia Southern, North Dakota State, Western Illinois, New Hampshire and defending champion Villanova. But all those teams had seven Division I wins. The Griz, who opened with a 72-3 rout of D-II Western State, did not.
It’s a tough start to the Robin Pflugrad Era. Add scheduling to the list of things that went wrong, and rank it behind “injuries” and “turnovers.” And, maybe, “time of possession.” The offense was shaky the last month and a half but I’m not sure any coach, Bobby Hauck included, would’ve done better given the injuries the Grizzlies had. For that matter, who knows if Chase Reynolds’ shoulder would’ve held up to another game this week.
For the record, it’s not the first time Griz fans have witnessed an inconsistent offense. The 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007 seasons come to mind. The Grizzlies managed to snare a couple more victories despite that, however.
I’m with Missoulian columnist Bill Speltz: It was a tough season, but one worth celebrating. It had to end sometime. I believe the Griz will soon be starting another streak.
Times to be announced
Western Illinois (7-4) at Coastal Carolina (6-5)
Robert Morris (8-2) at North Dakota State (7-4)
Lehigh (9-2) vs. Northern Iowa (7-4)
South Carolina State (9-2) vs. Georgia Southern (7-4)
Times included where available (MST)
Western Illinois-Coastal Carolina winner at (1) Appalachian State (9-2), 10 a.m.
Villanova (7-4) vs. Stephen F. Austin (9-2)
Southeast Missouri State vs. (5) Eastern Washington (9-2)
Robert Morris-NDSU winner at (4) Montana State (9-2), noon
Lehigh-Northern Iowa winner at (3) Delaware (9-2)
New Hampshire (7-4) at Bethune-Cookman (10-1)
Wofford (9-2) at Jacksonville State (9-2), 10 a.m.
So. Carolina St.-Ga. Southern winner at (2) William & Mary (8-3)